By The Book #5: The Relationship Between the Nous (Mind) and The Christian
The relationship between the Nous (mind) and the Christian
What effect has this nous on the Christian life, work, service, walk and so forth? It is an undeniable fact that all who believes in the Lord Jesus have a new spirit and a new heart. However weak or strong the believer may be, he is begotten of God and possesses a new spirit and a new heart. Hence, he can love people from the heart as well as serve God with the heart. He is able to do everything from the heart. Even though the heart is new the “nous” may not be renewed. According to human logic if a man’s heart is made new, the conscience and the mind which are included in the heart must also have been renewed. But it is not true in fact. The conscience part of the heart becomes new at the time of salvation, but it may not always be new or become daily renewed afterwards. Just as a dress what first purchased is new, it may not remain so later on. One has to perform additional work if it is to remain continually new. In like manner, the nous, at the time of salvation is new, but after a while it may not stay new.
Such experience is shared by many believers. Let me tell you that when a person gets saved his conscience is new and restored to its proper function of hating and abhorring sin. But will this conscience always continue new? Not absolutely. For if he should sin and give ground to sin repeatedly, if he should refuse to listen to the voice of conscience, that after many instances of this his conscience will not reprove him anymore. It has lost its function. Now just as it is possible for the conscience to be restored and that subsequently to lose its sensitivity, so also is it possible for the mind.
What is Nous?
What is this nous that the New Testament talks about? We many view this subject from 3 angles; Physically viewed, we may say that we human beings possess a brain; psychologically considered we have a nous; and speaking spiritually, we have intuition. That which pertains to matter is termed the brain; and that which pertains to intellect or reasoning is called nous. Though we darn not say that nous represents the whole of the mind, it certainly occupies a major part of the mind never the less. Through the intuition of our spirit we receive an impression from God. By the nous of the soul that impression in the intuition is being interpreted and made known to us. We know the will of God through intuition, but intuition, being irrational and unsystematic, needs to be explained by the nous.
Now let us say that man has 3 different organs for knowledge. In the body is the brain, in the spirit is intuition, and in the soul is the nous. When we dissect the brain, we see nothing but grey and white substance. And intuition is something we sometimes sense and sometimes not. At times it seems to constrain and other times restrain. It is that entity that is deep down in us. But the nous stands between the intuition and the brain. It interprets the meaning in the intuition and directs the brain to express it in words. Should a believer's nous be defective, and even though he has strong intuition and a good brain, his life will be lived devoid of any standard. HE will spend his days foolishly. And he will not be able to express what is within him, even at the time of preaching. All this is due to his nous not being renewed.
The Sinner's Nous
Let us consider the sinner's nous. He has a nous that is corrupted and depraved (Rom. 1:28, 2 Tim 3:8), futile and vain (Eph 4:17), fleshly (col. 2:18), and defiled (Titus 1:15). Such is the condition of a sinner’s nous. But now you are saved. Yet if you recall your experience before you were saved, what could be said of your attitude toward God? What is the situation of a sinner’s nous before Him?
Suppose here is a most foolish sinner who knows almost nothing. But as you start to talk to him about God, he will oppose you with all sorts of arguments. He will insist there is no God. You will be surprised at this assertion of a fool. Why does he so speak? Because his mind is darkened. His nous is darkened and dead; his spirit is completely in the dark. He has no way to know God and is totally unable to understand the way of God. What makes him raise all these arguments against God? His depraved, futile and defiled nous. Such is the situation of the foolish man.
But how about the cleverest of men, the one who can discuss God philosophically? He professes to know everything, yet he will not believe in God. He tries to find many reasons to refute Him. He opposes God as much as the fool. Though the wise and the fool are worlds apart in hundreds of things, in the matter of not believing in God they perfectly agree. This is due to no other cause than the nous of both of them is darkened and their spirit is dead. Their thoughts become wild and irregular. Hence God declares in the case of those perishing that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them” (2 Cor. 4:4).
What is meant by being saved? It simply means knowing God. “and this is eternal life, that they should know thee the only true God, and Him whom did send Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). Eternal life is the ability of knowing God.